During college I missed my Mom like crazy. I missed her so bad my freshman year I would sit on the phone crying to her all week begging her to drive 3 hours to pick me up on Friday. She, missing me equal amounts, would without fail pick me up every Friday and drive me home on Sunday night. When I got my car sophomore year the trend continued. I drove home every weekend all four years of college because my Mom is my best friend. Part of my weekend tradition was baking for Nathan. Every Sunday I baked him loads of treats and on my drive back to school I dropped him off with goodies to feed him and his friends for the entire week. He went to college 30 minutes north of my school so he was a stop on my way back.
Junior year I started making him loaves of bread. Every Sunday along with the usual, cake, cookie, croissant, soup, (seriously I used to go nuts), there would always be a loaf of bread. Making bread is one of my favorite things in the world. Why? The answer is simple: it is so easy and so rewarding. Every time I make a loaf of bread I feel satisfied and the way Nathan devours it gives me reassurance I'm doing it right. All this brings me to making these hamburger buns! Nathan lives for a good burger. Since we aren't doing much meat these days, I decided to make a veggie burger more special by home making the buns. The buns, combined with The Pioneer Woman's black bean burger, were amazing. Treat a special person in your life with these for dinner. You - and they - won't regret it!
For the buns:
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons warm milk
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups of bread flour (if you're like me and did not have bread flour on hand you can use the regular 3 cups of flour plus 4 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda and 3/4 teaspoons of salt. Mix it all together and you have bread flour!)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/4 cup of butter
- a few sprinkles of dry oregano
1. Pour the 3 tablespoons of warm milk into the 1 cup warm water. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Add 2 teaspoons of dry yeast. Stir to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor add 3 cups bread flour and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Pulse the flour ingredients together until combined. Cut up the 1/4 cup butter and add to the flour. Pulse until the mixture resembles sand. Whisk 1 egg and add to the mixture. While still mixing, slowly add in the yeast milk mixture. Pulse until smooth dough forms.
3. Butter the bottom of a large bowl. Form the dough into a smooth ball and put in the buttered bowl. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let rise for 1 to 2 hours.
4. Once the dough has risen, remove from the bowl. You may need to flour your surface. Cut the dough into 8 even pieces and form into ball shapes. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I do no more than 6 a baking sheet. Flatten the balls a bit by pressing them down with your hands.
5. To glaze the buns you will need to whisk 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Brush each bun with this mixture then sprinkle each bun with oregano. Cover the dough on the baking sheet once more with saran wrap and let rise an additional 30 minutes.
6. Preheat your oven to 400˚. Bake until golden brown!
I love Christmas baking; it warms my heart with the best memories of my childhood. Around this time of year, my Mom and I attended tons of different Christmas bazaars and church events - all which included baked sweets. Each year she impressed others with her famous noel balls, pink pigs, and pies. I love the way my Mom bakes; she has an intuition about good food, especially baked goods. When baking, I always remember her advice: "Look at the ingredients, only use recipes with the best." This may seem obvious, but her love of heavy whipping cream always makes her stuff a cut above the rest. I have a feeling my Mom would love this cake. I love a good bundt cake - they are so very festive. I got this beautiful bundt pan last year at Williams-Sonoma; I love its impressive shape. This spiced cranberry cake matches its impressive appearance in an even more impressive flavor. Seriously this is SO good.
You will need:
- 2 3/4 cupsall purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice seasoning
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 lemon's juice
- 3/4 cups milk
- 1 cup halved fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
- 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 4 teaspoons (about) orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Butter and flour your bundt pan. In a bowl whisk together the first 8 dry ingredients. In an electric mixer beat the butter until fluffy. Add both sugars to the butter and beat until fluffy, next adding the cream cheese . Add the eggs one at a time. Add 1/2 of a lemons juice followed by 3/4 cups of milk. Add dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Add the cranberries and gently mix by hand. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Once finished, let cool completely. For the icing, whisk the powder sugar and orange juice. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes then pour on cake. Enjoy!
In the wise words of Lena Dunham: "The internet says you shouldn't like pumpkin spice lattes so drink them behind closed doors and enjoy them in private."
I have felt the shame of enjoying these seasonal drinks, however that is all they are - SEASONAL DRINKS! They don't define you as some wuss because you're not ordering hardcore black coffee or espresso shots. I love getting into every holiday's spirit, so for the month of November, pumpkin spice lattes it is! These are easy, fun, and festive! I am going to make a batch for Nathan and I tonight to drink while watching a movie!
You will need:
-2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
-2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-3 tablespoons sugar
-1 1/2 cup whole milk
-6 scoops of ground coffee
-cinnamon for garnish
In a sauce pan add 1 cup of milk 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Stir frequently until the mixture begins to thicken. Set aside and boil water to make your coffee, that is if you are using a french press! Pour the pumpkin spice mixture into your cup followed by desired amount of coffee and finally use the remaining milk as you desire.
I have to admit, this kicked butt. Nathan told me if I made this every single day he would eat it all. I kind of agree with him. This is such a beautiful alternative dish to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner. It is easy to make, will wow your guests and look beautiful with your Thanksgiving spread. It is also a healthier (?) alternative to people who want to skip all the cream and butter of the classic mashed potatoes. I, however, do not care, and plan to serve this AND mashed potatoes at my Thanksgiving feast!
You will need:
1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp of olive oil
fresh ground salt and pepper
1 lb of small potatoes with skin on
1 large onion
1 tbsp butter ( I used vegan butter from Trader Joes that is JUST as good in my opinion.)
3 springs of oregano or a couple dashes of dried oregano
dash of white wine
1 puff pastry sheet
For drizzling sauce
1 tbsp butter
2 green onions thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
dash of chili flakes
Preheat your oven to 275˚. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with fresh ground salt and pepper. Cook for about 45 minutes.
Boil a pot of salted water and cook potatoes till slightly soft, about 25 minutes. Once done, set aside and let cool.
Sauté the onion with some olive oil, salt, and a dash of white wine. Cook until slightly browned.
Cut a bit off of the top and the bottom of the potato so both sides are flat.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and oregano.
Now that all the vegetables are ready, cover an 8 inch cake pan with oil and the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Place your potatoes carefully into the pan. Now press the tomatoes and onions into the gaps. Pour the butter oregano mixture over the potatoes and vegetables. Roll out your puff pastry. Cut into a slightly larger circle than your 8 inch cake pan. Lay the pastry over the tart and press the edges down around the potatoes inside the pan.
Preheat the oven to 400˚ and cook the tart for 25 minutes. At 25 minutes, reduce the heat to 350˚ and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Once removed, let sit for 2 minutes. Hold a plate over the cake pan and turn it over so that the tart comes out.
In a small pan, sauté 1 tbsp of butter, 2 chopped green onions, and 2 crushed garlic cloves with a dash of chili flakes. Drizzle on top of the tart. ( I added this step after the pictures where taken. Before serving to Nathan I decided it needed a little extra something; this took it to the next level!)
Guacamole is in my top 5 favorite foods, so when H-E-B is selling avos for 39 cents, you buy 9 of them and make a super batch of guac for dinner. This is my personal favorite combination of ingredients. Enjoy.
Serves 3-4 people
-juice of 2 lemons
-1 jalapeño, de-seeded and chopped
-1/2 red onion, chopped
-about 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
-tabasco to taste
-salt to taste
I have been following "A Cozy Kitchen" on Instagram for a while now, but never cease to be amazed by her beautiful creations. Her pies are magical, always with the most immaculate, yet rustic aesthetic. She gives off that vibe that she's naturally perfect but doesn't try. I'm just a little obsessed with her. Today I finally decided to make one of her pies, and I was NOT disappointed. I would say with full confidence her pie crust is my favorite recipe yet! It is not fussy, its easy to work with, and delicious! Find her recipe here.
Nathan and I have been vegan for about the past 3 weeks. It is a bit easier on me than him so I have been trying to make lots of hearty vegan baked goods to ease the transition for him. I made a delicious batch of butternut squash soup, and this cornbread compliments it perfectly. This bread is very simple, very delicious and the jalapeño adds the most mild kick. Perfect for this windy fall day!
You will need:
1 1/2 cups rice milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
3/4 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Combine rice milk and vinegar and let sit.
Combine all dry ingredients.
Add the milk mixture, the oil, and chopped jalapeños stir until blended.
Pour into lightly oil sprayed baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I was not amused by the chia pudding hype. I never had the desire to try, but a friend suggested I make it so I did. IM NOT LYING, I REPEAT IM NOT LYING, this stuff tastes like horchata and I'm not sure why. I highly recommend this because it is SOOOOO GOOOOOOD and EASY.
I made this delicious butternut squash orecchiette I found on Bon Appetite for sunday dinner. I changed a few things, but it was absolutely delicious! Recipe found HERE
Recipe Changes: I skipped the hazelnuts all together, just not my thing. I replaced the mint with basil and added a dash of white wine in with the butternut squash while cooking. I also really cranked on the fresh pepper before serving. The rest is great!
Every one is making fancy toast these days, and I am not complaining. I grew up on avo toast; I quite literally ate it 50% of the mornings of my childhood. This toast is just a more flavorful adult rendition. Three words: feta, garlic, aoli. YUM!
There is absolutely nothing better than southern tomatoes, they are juicy and flavorful like no other. Since I now live in Texas it is mandatory that I make a tomato salad before summer is up. Please make this. Heirloom tomatoes, garlic breadcrumbs, feta cheese, and dressing, what could be better? Not much, now get on it.
I love the mornings Nathan gets to stay home. I always try to make him a special breakfast those mornings. Today it was chocolate chip pancakes; you can't get more special than that! I love this recipe because the pancakes always turn out so light, fluffy, and delicious! I always use Martha Stewart's easy pancake recipe and just add chocolate chips! Easy enough. Recipe found HERE
Nathan and I are going to Austin, Texas next Monday! In anticipation for our trip and the amount of Tex-Mex I plan on consuming I am doing a week long juice cleanse. Today is day one. I am currently sipping my carrot juice which I swear tastes like chocolate milk - when you are starving. The juicing brings me to the risotto. While starving earlier (not really - I'm perfectly well nourished), I imagined what I wished I could eat for dinner and decided to make Nathan whatever that was. I decided on risotto, because: it is cheesy √, it is warm √, and most importantly, it is not juice. This risotto recipe is a favorite, it is bursting with flavor and so worth making! Find recipe HERE.
Let me apologize in advance for how much I have been posting about kale lately. I started this new blog because I wanted to be authentic about what I am actually eating and doing on a day-to-day basis. So, that means I am going to talk a whole lot about kale - until I am onto my next obsession. The whole kale fascination started when I realized how life changing it was to throw it in a food processor. Since I started doing that, I have been eating about a half bag of kale each day. I am obsessed with the idea of how happy my body is with all the nourishments it's getting. Today I chopped up some butternut squash, avocado, sunflower seeds, and basil, which resulted in what may be my new favorite salad combo. I am not into salad dressing much these days because of all the foreign ingredients, so adding a blob of organic hummus and some fresh lemon juice does the trick, adding flavor and extra nourishment! Hummus is good for you! Enjoy!
You will need:
Organic Tuscan Kale
Butternut squash (Trader Joe's has a wonderful bag of pre-cubed butternut squash)
1. Chop the butternut squash cubes into smaller cubes (I cut in half, then halve the half). Over a medium flame, sauté butternut squash with olive oil, fresh ground pepper and kosher salt until you can poke easily with a fork. Meanwhile, food process 2 handfuls of kale and about 1/4 cup of basil. Once butternut squash is cooked, add it to the salad with fresh avo, a spoonful of hummus and a few squirts of lemon juice. Top with desired amount of sunflower seeds!
Nathan requested a sandwich for lunch today and I was thrilled. He doesn't feel the same way I do about sandwiches, so I always take the opportunity to try and convert him to the sandwich side with something truly spectacular. I pulled out the big guns today with some caramelized onion, melted blue cheese, and avocado. I even added some finely chopped kale to add some health to it. He loved it, I am sure you will too!
You Will Need:
French bread from Trader Joe's cut into sandwich slices
1/2 red onion
1 TBS brown sugar (for the onions)
a little mayonnaise for moisture
finely chopped kale
a few basil leaves finely chopped
1. In a medium sized pan over a medium flame, add 1/2 red onion with a table spoon of brown sugar and sautee for a few minutes until caramelized. Heat up your broiler and lightly toast your bread. Remove bread and add chicken, caramelized onions, and top with blue cheese. Return bread with toppings and plain bread to the broiler until the blue cheese is slightly golden. Keep an eye on your bread - every broiler is different! You don't want to burn what you have going on. Once broiled to perfection, add mayonnaise, avocado, kale, and basil. You are ready to serve, ENJOY!
I have to admit, I have not been as healthy as I aspired to be on January 1st. I haven't been terrible but if I am being real, physically, I am not where I would like to be. So in an attempt to make some progress, I went to Trader Joe's, got my usual healthy favorites, PLUS a bag of Kale.
I AM NOT ON THE KALE TRAIN. Truthfully, I really do not like it one bit. I made a salad with it that night and legitimately BARELY chocked it down; I attribute my disdain to the texture. Here I am the next day with a massive bag of organic kale and a dream to eat it all. So I pulled out my food processor and processed that kale as much as I could. When I was done, it looked like a pile of grass. Since I had my processor out I decided to extreme chop whatever I could find which ended up being pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, and parmesan. I finished it off by thoroughly mixing in some vegan Cesar Romano dressing from Trader Joe's and plopping half of an avo on top. Now, I want to shout from the roof tops, "I am in love and I am a Kale convert." By eliminating the texture, I have found something close to perfection, the marriage of the flavors is flawless and its my new go to lunch favorite. It doesn't hurt that I ate a half bag of kale for lunch, either. Your body will love you forever, just make it!
You Will Need (all from Trader Joe's):
Organic Tuscan Kale
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Half of an Avocado
Cesar Romano Dressing
1. Process all the ingredients, THOROUGHLY mix the dressing in, and top with avo! WAAAA LA.
Some days I have less inspiration than others, today was one of those days. I opened my eyes to see a grey sky, which instantly set the tone for my mood. It took me much longer to peel myself from my sheets and even longer to tackle my morning chores. The absence of sunshine brought a noticeable absence of joy to my home. Once cleaning up the house and showering I had two options: sit around and wait for something to change my mood, or do something proactive that I knew would make me happy. Baking is very therapeutic for me; I love the steps and rhythms that leave me with a beautiful result and I always feel accomplished and fulfilled. I scanned through my fridge to see if I even had anything to make, noticing a carton of heavy whipping cream and a box of strawberries - that's it strawberry, shortcake it is, I decided! Strawberry shortcake is traditionally a Summer treat but it was exactly what I needed to pull me out of this foggy funk and remind me of sunnier Summer days! I recommend it!
Total Time: 1 hr 15 min
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temp
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cups sour cream, room temp
2 tablespoons coconut cream (optional but highly recommended!)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup heavy cream chilled
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint fresh strawberries
I am feeling convicted as a wife. Last night, with Nathan's last bit of sickly strength, he went to the kitchen in search of something sweet. Of course, we had nothing, so he returned to the couch with a bag of semi-sweet baking chocolate chips. I used to love baking for Nathan. Every single weekend of college, I would drive home, bake Nathan pies, cookies, and homemade breads to eat the upcoming week. If you followed me on Instagramback then you will remember; every sunday I'd post a photo of the stockpile of baked goods I made for him.
College days are long gone, as is our metabolism, so staying true to our healthy lifestyle, I decided to bake something amazing and sweet without processed sugar, so tonight poor Nathan won't have to resort to the semi-sweet chips again. He already ate a few of these and is absolutely in love. They are suspiciously moist and outrageously yummy. It is safe to say we will be seeing more of these little loaves in our future.
My poor Nathan woke up with a nasty cold. What better way to sooth a rainy day cold than with some hearty soup? I have had a bag of orzo in my cabinet forever so I decided to take an Italian spin on some good old chicken noodle soup. Using white onion, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, white wine and lemon, we created the perfect melody of flavors that remind me of something we would have seen on the menu at a cafe in Rome. This soup and a side of dayquil should have Nathan better in no time. ENJOY!